Restoring carvel wooden yacht from 1920

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by nfrandsen, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. nfrandsen
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Location: Denmark

    nfrandsen New Member

    I may have just made the smartest or stupidest decision of my life and gone out and bought a 40 foot wooden ketch. It was built and is based in Denmark (so am I) in 1920 from Oak and Pine. You can see pictures of it at http://www.dba.dk/traebaad-aarg-1920-40-fod-4/id-1009179730/

    The structural timber seems to be in reasonable condition but unfortunately its been on land for 2 years and its hull has been completely sanded down. The previous owner was about to start restoring it again and then decided to pull pin. The planks are in reasonable condition but they have dried out a bit.

    Has anyone on here tried restoring a yacht using the technique outlined in http://www.star-distributing.com/howtoguides/drybilge.html with CPES, Sika191i and epoxy primer (more flexible than epoxy resin) - I am a bit worried that the planking is too old and dry to be able to take up water and become watertight without replanking. I know its a touchy subject but i have neither the skill, money or expertise to replank her and this method seems like it should make her watertight without making it difficult to repair things like glass can do. Has anyone in here tried the above method? Could you please share your experience. Thanks everyone!
     

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  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Could you block off a section on inside and fill it with water to then see how the planks tighten up?
     
  3. nfrandsen
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Location: Denmark

    nfrandsen New Member

    Hey rasorinc thanks for your input. I guess I could but it would be hard to evaluate the result. Also I've heard that the fasteners cant handle too much weight/force in that direction as really they are designed for force going in the opposite direction. Theres no doubt that after sitting in the water with a pump or just soaking it with water the wood would take in some water and look better I just worry that it wont be able to get completely watertight and I will have to rely on a strong bilge pump to keep her afloat. Hence why I got interested in the above strategy which could get her completely watertight without an expensive replank.
     
  4. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    There are quite a few negative postings here about CPES. Search them out and do some research on full strength epoxies to do your coatings. The major epoxy makers will all have some info about what your trying to achieve. PAR has posted his displeasure with
    CPES, I believe.
     
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    It is a terrible thing to do to a wooden boat. The cotton in the seams locks the planks together and creates a panel. If you use 5200 or other similar goo, the planks will not lock with each other, and the fasteners will be stressed more than they are designed to be. Get a knowledgeable surveyor or shipwright to check her out and help you make a restoration plan. For example, the fasteners need to be checked for corrosion. If the holes in the planks are elongated, the boat may need to be re-fastened. The quick fixes do more damage than leaving the boat alone. If the boat is in the weather, a way to keep the wood from deteriorating is to give a coat of latex paint. It will stabilize the moisture.
     
  6. pashbe1
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: usa

    pashbe1 Junior Member

    Good Luck!

    If, as you say the structural timber and planks are in reasonable condition, letting her take up in the water is the best and quickest option. She should be reasonable tight within two days, and you will be able to find any seriouse leaks. That being said, you don't want to just drop her in. Keep her on the slings or trailer for as long as possible to asses whether she is going to go straight down :p before floating her completely free.

    All that being said you should have the boat surveyed by a surveyor knoweledgeable in wooden boat construction. He may recommend recaulking and or refastening. Both are fairly large jobs in a boat this size, but not unreasonable even for someone without experience, and far more easy than replanking.

    Be prepared for this boat to leak no matter what you do. You will have to asses to your own comfort level the rate of the leak and whether you can live with it.
     
  7. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    It has to be recaulked before it goes back in the water. Fresh cotton or oakum will make a new hull out of it. If you don't recaulk you are expecting old dry caulking to seal the seams. It will always leak. I am no shipwright but I got that info off a shipwright. He also told me that if the fastenings are good a new caulking job will be good for 40 years. Other option might be splining the seams .. traditional recaulking is the cheapest fix if you do it yourself.
     
  8. nfrandsen
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Location: Denmark

    nfrandsen New Member

    Thanks

    Thanks for your replies. In the last two days i have purchased and slavishly read through Thomas Larssons boat on boat restoration and been down to the local yacht club to talk with a few of the older wiser heads. I now realise that the wood is actually not in that bad condition and the cracks are small, especially below the waterline. It has been on land for 2 years in cold denmark under a tent so it has dried up a little bit but it should be fixable. Its been completely sanded back so my plan for the hull (take reasonably literally from Larsson) is to:

    Rip out existing rotten caulking
    Impregnate hull in linseed oil over a couple of days
    Recaulk with oakum and a traditional seam compound
    Set up sprinkler system or wet salty towels to try wet the hull
    Paint with oil based paint
    Paint with bottom paint
    Sink into water while leaving it in sling or with pumps going until it seals up.
    Then troubleshoot from there...

    Hopefully that can bring the hull back into good shape. There probably are newer materials that can work great when used correctly but I dont have the experience to know how, if I just keep it 100% traditional then I can just follow the book :)
     
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  9. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    there are plenty of modern sealers that will seal for a while but the cotton or oakum expansion is what stiffens the structure. Sika or similar will not do that so the planks will walk on the fastenings .
     
  10. pashbe1
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: usa

    pashbe1 Junior Member

    Good Plan!

    I like your plan, but would advise based on personal experience:

    Use cotton caulk for a boat this size. From personal experience cotton is the easiest to work with for a beginner, and the most suited for seams of this size.

    Soaking the wood with linseed oil I would skip. Not that it will harm the wood, but it won't do anything for it either. It will slow the uptake of water into the cell structure and slow the expansion of the planks, thereby delaying the closing of your seams.

    I have used sprinkler systems and earthen floors to delay opening of seams while storing hulls, but this will not close the seams.

    Oil based marine paint, not house paint!

    Just for peace of mind I would still pull a few random fasteners to asses their condition.

    That is a beautiful boat btw, Please post a few pictures of your progress!
     
  11. nfrandsen
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Location: Denmark

    nfrandsen New Member

    In the big book of wooden boat restoration Larsson mentions that when a boat has been scraped back to bare wood, it normal to impregnate the wood with linseed oil. My thinking is that it will also close the planking a little little bit, not as much as water of course, but maybe 20% therefore if I wait with caulking until after the linseed oil has been absorbed then I am less likely to overfill the seams with caulking.

    The other issue is that where I live I cant seem to find caulking cotton, only caulking oakum. I know I can find it on the internet but I haven't been able to track it down locally and I was hoping to start this weekend since I have traveled to where the boat is (which unfortunately is 4 hours from where i live).

    I will make sure to upload some progress photos.
     
  12. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    This is a large job I am doing on my boat at the moment. Repairing a huge hole caused by me. I am restoring this boat and posting pics as I go along. There is heaps of great info on my thread provided by members of this forum. Some of it may be of interest to you as well with your resto. Boat is 35 ft ketch built 1958.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    If you google how to caulk a carvel hull there are some really helpful videos on u tube of shipwrights caulking. Being able to watch them doing it makes it a lot easier to understand.
     

  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I too would skip the oiling, as it's unnecessary and simply slows the "take up" process. If the boat is as I suspect, you'll have leaks and have to yank it out, to be put on the hard again anyway, so don't bother. You can arrange to set up some garden sprinklers under this old gal and they'll wet her down, if left running for a few days.

    Instead of guessing and paying for "sling time", just hire a certified surveyor and have them spend 8 hours or so with this puppy. They'll be able to tell you what she needs, what you should address right away, what can wait a while, etc., then you'll have a plan to pursue without any guessing.

    CPES does have a some use and on an old carvel, is one of the few places it can pay it's own way. It's very probable the garboards will need to be replaced and likely a few other planks as well. This is normal and part of the usual maintenance schedule, on a boat of this build type and age. Planking is a consumable item, much like an oil filter, it will wear out and needs to be replaced. There's no "saving" old, worn out planking, it's just firewood, so don't fall in love. The garboards are the most highly stressed, so these get replaced at typically two to three time the rate of the other bottom planks.

    Lastly, this boat needs to be "tightened up". This is a skill best left to a pro, at least below the LWL. Caulking a boat is a dieing art, so make sure you get someone that's got hundreds of boats under his "iron". There's a special feel and sound to the process, that isn't easily learned if you elect to "give it a go". In other words, it takes a while and hundreds of meters of seams, to get the "feel" you need, to insure you're not splitting planking or mashing seams, as you learn this craft. In fact, you can really ruin a boat's planking if it's not caulked right.
     
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